Information on Free Telehealth Laptops and Licenses for Medicaid Providers September 14, 2020

Written by Department of Health Care Finance

At the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) immediately recognized that providers would need to leverage the use Health IT - and telemedicine services in particular - to ensure continuity of care for a Medicaid patient population at high risk for coronavirus exposure. After assessing District providers’ needs and potential obstacles they face in meeting key patient engagement objectives, the District made it a priority to ensure that the ability to participate in telehealth services is an option available to as many Medicaid providers and beneficiaries as possible.

To broaden its telehealth engagement efforts, DHCF recently applied and received approval from CMS to implement an emergency telehealth project to support the District’s continued effort to combat coronavirus (COVID-19). Now officially established, the District’s telehealth emergency response initiative will operate through the end of Fiscal Year 2021. Its goals are to assist providers who are actively participating in the Promoting Interoperability Program to meet the increasingly challenging patient engagement objectives and measures, and position other District Medicaid providers to optimize their telehealth service delivery capabilities during the COVID-19 public health emergency. DHCF’s Telehealth Emergency Response initiative will be managed by the District of Columbia Primary Care Association (DCPCA), in partnership with Enlightened Inc.

What Types of Assistance will be Offered to Providers through this Initiative?
DCPCA will distribute 14” touch screen laptops that are configured to support provider and clinical staff access to telehealth applications and services. Each laptop will be paired with a mobile hot spot that includes a 1-year unlimited data service plan. Please note that the laptop devices will remain the property of DHCF and must be returned to the agency by no later than September 30, 2021.

DCPCA will also distribute a limited number of telehealth platform licenses to provider organizations that would like to begin using telehealth services to enable continuity of care for their patients. The telehealth platform licenses offered under this initiative will allow providers to access a HIPAA-compliant web-based service to conduct patient encounters. Provider access to a telehealth platform license will be prepaid to cover 1 year of telehealth operations.

Who is Eligible to Participate?
Provider organizations that are (1) authorized to deliver health care services to Medicaid beneficiaries who are residents of the District of Columbia and (2) targeted to receive technical assistance services under the DC HIE Connectivity Grant are eligible to participate in this program. Eligible practices will be prioritized as described below to receive telehealth devices and/or licenses (i.e., telehealth support tools):

Tier 1: Practices that are currently enrolled in the District’s Promoting Interoperability (PI)/ Medicaid EHR Incentive Program or have previously participated in the District’s PI/MU Program

Tier 2: Independent ambulatory care practices, including primary care and prenatal care practices, with priority given to practice sites located in Wards 5, 7, and 8

Tier 3: Behavioral health practices, with priority given to practice sites located in Wards 5, 7, and 8

Tier 4: Other provider organizations (e.g., long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, etc.)

Provider organizations that have already received a grant award this year through FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program will not be eligible to request additional telehealth support tools under DHCF’s Telehealth Emergency Response initiative.
How do I Request Telehealth Emergency Response Assistance for My Practice?

Provider organizations that would like to receive telehealth support tools through this initiative can submit a request to DCPCA that indicates the type(s) of support needed (i.e., laptops and/or telehealth platform licenses), and contains baseline data about the size of the practice, including the number of clinical staff employed and number of patients served annually. The Telehealth Emergency Response questionnaire and request for assistance may be accessed by clicking here.

 DCPCA will collaborate with Enlightened to evaluate all requests that have been submitted for telehealth emergency assistance on a first-come, first-served basis, in accordance with the priorities outlined above. The available telehealth support tools will be allocated to each practice based on the practice’s identified needs, as indicated in their questionnaire response and request for assistance. Limits on the quantities of laptop devices and telehealth platform licenses will be applied based on the practice size (i.e., # of patients seen annually and/or # of practice staff requiring telehealth platform access) to ensure that the greatest number of requests for support can be accommodated. We expect to notify all provider organizations that submitted response about the status of their requests for assistance by no later than September 30, 2020.
What Obligations must My Practice Meet to Receive Telehealth Support under this Initiative?

  • Provider organizations that are selected to receive support through DHCF’s Telehealth Emergency Response initiative will be asked to agree to the following requirements as conditions of participation:
    The practice will submit baseline telehealth services data and provide quarterly telehealth utilization updates, beginning with the quarter ended December 31, 2020, to support program monitoring and evaluation efforts. 
    • The practice agrees to accept responsibility for tracking the assignment of laptops to practice staff, and coordinate the return of all allocated devices to DCPCA as directed, by no later than September 30, 2021.

Provider organizations that would like to apply for telehealth emergency assistance under this initiative are asked to submit their questionnaire response and request for support as soon as possible. The deadline for submissions is September 14, 2020. Meeting this deadline will allow DCPCA and Enlightened to evaluate all requests, allocate the available telehealth resources and schedule deliveries to selected practices by no later than September 30, 2020. Please forward any questions and/or requests for additional information to: